Grim Meathook Present

I’ve been to the pharmacy twice in the last two days, once to leave off a prescription and once to pick one up. Both days the line has been at least 15 people long to pick up and about half that to drop off. This is maybe 3 times as long as usual.

The employees said “sorry, our hours are cut.” When I came in today I turned around and walked out because I didn’t have an hour free to wait. Fortunately I didn’t need the prescription right away.

If upper middle class people with good benefits in a resort town in Southern California are now waiting an hour to get their prescriptions, because the drugstore chain has cut hours way down, what’s it like right now in Wal-Mart land? My guess: not so great.

I’ve also noticed discounters like Target carrying less inventory and less variety. If I don’t get to Target before noon on a Saturday the chance of finding the lightbulb I need is halved.

Something went down at the bank in the same shopping center the other day and they have an armed security guard now. That’s new.

It’s not the end of the world, especially here. But if I can notice the quality of everyday life slipping here? It must be getting really special in poorer bits.

15 thoughts on “Grim Meathook Present

  1. Here’s some unverified bloggage that you can take as you wish:

    This week corporate started a new “plan” to basically purge our DCs (distribution centers) and stores of what we currently own nation wide. The company has cut back drastically on the amount of inventory the stores and DCs will typically keep on hand.
    … The company is doing this as fast as possible and will be doing it for whatever items we currently have a large supply of at stores and DCs – especially high dollar items.
    What is interesting about this is the fact that the company wants to be 100% FINISHED with this process nation wide by the end of the 2nd quarter…. at which point inventory levels will be kept ultra low the rest of the year…. Which during any normal year would be exactly the opposite – come the start of the 3rd and 4th quarter we would be trying to INCREASE inventory levels at the DCs and stores. But the plan right now is to do exactly the opposite.
    Basically the executives and analysts at HQ are expecting massive sales declines in the 3rd and 4th quarters this year so they are trying to unload as much of the products we currently “own” and are sitting on right now. If I had to summarize the message the stores got explaining why we are trying to sell all this inventory by the end of the second quarter in one sentence it would be “Let’s get rid of this shit while we still can”

    1. I’m sure I’d be doing the same thing, whether I ran a little store or a huge chain. Places like Target already run with very little inventory. Around now I bet they could just manufacture their crap on demand.

  2. my “rhetoric of contemporary politics” class is very interesting. you see, i know next to nothing about economics, but you know it’s bad when you come to your first day of classes and the prof says (and i’m paraphrasing here):
    “last semester this was a class about hope. now that obama’s been elected and the economy has tanked further than was expected, this will be a class about crisis. and i don’t use the word lightly.”
    and he has not strayed from that.
    i’m currently writing a paper about how fucked we all are.

  3. Live From WalMart Land
    I have no frame of reference for what it was like down here where I am in rural Alabama because it was already economically depressed and I only got here 3 months ago, but I haven’t noticed any specific declines in goods or services. As a matter of fact, an actual decent natural foods restaurant recently opened in the next town, but the chef owns the building, the store and the farm where a good chunk of his product comes from, so I am hoping that is going to be enough to keep him in business.
    I know a big complaint of the bartenders and servers around here is that people have stopped tipping though.

  4. The people of this city are so blindly optimistic, it’s really weird. Almost every day someone says “Austin is recession proof!” Uh… I don’t want to be the jerk from California to rain on your parade but…no.

    1. They say the same thing about Portland, but the reality is that we’re in a time-delay bubble. Recessions and [housing/dot-com] bubble-pops hit the rest of the country, then they eventually hit Portland. The same goes for the recovery of the downturns and for full-fledged economic booms. Then they get better in the rest of the country, then they eventually get better in Portland.
      Lots of people in California are moving to PDX because they see the downturn on the horizon–but this is probably the worst time to be doing that. By the time they get up here and settled in, they’ll see the same (but time-delayed) downturn on the horizon that they were trying to escape. Double the displeasure!
      Also: we have a bunch of trustifarians masquerading as hippies and hipsters. They don’t care about the economy until their trust funds deplete.

      1. Also, the economic growth here has never been that staggering. Oregon consistently has one of the worst rates of unemployment and underemployment (although a lot of that is voluntary), in the nation. So things do get here slower, but when its bad, its not like we had that far to go, you know?

  5. On the airport shuttle in Philadelphia that took me to my hotel I sat next to two assholes who work in “retail loss prevention” for some horrible chain store [I didn’t get the name] that exploits the peasantry. They basically spent the whole ride talking about who they were going to fire for not sucking up to them sufficiently well enough.

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